Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews
Kate Daniels # 2
Publisher: Ace Books
Number of pages: 260
My copy: paperback, bought from PowerBooks
As a mercenary who cleans up after magic goes wrong, Kate Daniels has seen her share of occupational hazards. Normally, waves of paranormal energy ebb and flow across Atlanta like a tide. But once every seven years, a flare comes, a time when magic runs rampant. Now Kate’s going to have to deal with problems on a much bigger scale; a divine one.
When Kate sets out to retrieve a set of stolen maps for the Pack, Atlanta’s paramilitary clan of shapeshifters, she quickly realizes much more is at stake. During a flare, gods and goddesses can manifest – and battle for power. The stolen maps are only the opening gambit in an epic tug-of-war between two gods hoping for rebirth. And if Kate can’t stop the cataclysmic showdown, the city may not survive…
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I wasn’t planning to read Magic Burns immediately after I finished Magic Bites because I didn’t want to go through the entire series too fast, plus I always rest in between reading a series so I can read other books from my TBR pile. But after I finished the first book, I was reeling so much from Kate and the magical Atlanta that I had to read what happens next.
Some time has passed after the events of Magic Bites happened, and Kate wakes up to a phone call from her former partner and shapeshifter Jim who offers her a gig. Together, they disarm an arsonist successfully, but not before the culprit is killed by an unknown assassin. As Kate sets to investigate this, she finds a bigger concern not just for her but for everyone: a magical flare is coming up, and when magic runs rampant, things are destined to go wrong.
Magic Burns further immerses us into the world of Ilona Andrews’ characters, where magic and technology rises and falls every now and then. This is further expounded here with the occurence of a magical flare that comes once every seven years. More creatures are introduced, including the existence of gods and goddesses, that even Kate wasn’t really buying despite all the magic that she knows. I like how more things seemed to be explained here, including how magic can make people, more insight on the Pack dynamics and the interesting new addition, the witches. The world building here is as solid as the first, and despite the amount of extraordinary things in Kate’s world, it was easy to accept the fact that these things exist.
What makes Magic Burns (and Magic Bites) so readable is how it’s not just serious fantasy. I love the little funny quips and things that happens in the novel, and I find myself shaking my head as I chuckle at a seemingly ridiculous scene but still very fitting. I think “deadpan” is the right term to describe it. For example, there was a scene in the book where Kate was talking to Gasthek, a necromancer, through a vampire host he sent to her office:
“What’s in it for me?”
The day I took the People’s money would be the day I give up on being a human. “Not interested. Any other offers?”
The vampire stared at me, his mouth slack as Gasthek assessed his options. I took a couple of forms from my desk, put them in the vamp’s mouth, and pulled them up by their edges.
“What are you doing?” Gasthek asked.
“My hole puncher broke.” (p. 117)
See what I mean? I can only imagine what that scene looked like. :P
As always, Kate was very awesome here. In Magic Bites we get to see a bit of Kate and how tough she was. In Magic Burns, we see a bit of Kate’s soft side as she forms a relationship with Julie, the kid she “adopts” early in the book. We see her fierceness in protecting the person entrusted to her and what lengths she would go to just to keep her safe. Despite Kate’s strong personality and her need to be private, she’s not one without friends. She knows and keeps the value of friendship, going as far as provoking even the Beast Lord just to protect her friend. I like this side of her because it makes her more human. Further into the novel, though, we see a bit of how powerful Kate can be, and we learn a bit of her past, which I believe will be expounded on the latter novels.
And speaking of the Beast Lord. Ah Curran. :) I think I am starting to understand why the girls I know who like the series sigh with a mention of Curran. :) And that final scene? I wouldn’t have gotten The Princess Bride reference if I didn’t read this Goodreads review. I immediately re-read the last part and gave a tiny squeal (just tiny because I was in the office when I finished this) — “As you wish!” Squeeee! ♥ They tell me it gets better in the next books, so I can’t wait to read them.
Magic Burns is a solid follow-up to Magic Bites, if not better. :) I am about to start Magic Strikes, and I can’t wait to read more Kate and of course, whatever there is between her and Curran. :)